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25 Car Crash, Multiple Blocked Interchanges; Iowa State Patrol Pleads with Motorists to Stay Off the Roadways


December 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa State Patrol says the visibility on Iowa’s roads remains low due to high winds from the blizzard continuing its trek across Iowa.

25-vehicle pile-up on I-35 this morning. (ISP Photo)

Limited visibility paired with roadways completely covered in snow and ice, create dangerous driving conditions for motorists. The Patrol continues to urge Iowans to avoid travel.

At major interchanges and intersections across Iowa’s highways and interstates, traffic is becoming increasingly backed up. Roadways are being blocked by stalled and stuck vehicles. In some instances semis have jack-knifed, derailing traffic for hours.

Late this morning, the Iowa State Patrol was responding to a 25 car crash at the 150 mile marker along the southbound lanes of Interstate 35. Preliminary information indicates that due to near zero visibility, drivers were unable to see vehicles that had either slowed or stopped on the Interstate. A chain reaction of crashes then ensued. So far one person has died as a result of the crash. The roadway remains blocked and Troopers will work this investigation for several hours.

Additionally, the Iowa State Patrol is just now responding to a crash involving several semi-tractor trailers along I-80 by Grinnell. Eastbound lanes are completely blocked. Visibility in northern Iowa and along many other rural roadways is near zero.

Colonel David Garrison said, “It’s time to listen to warnings and get off the road. Iowa’s highways and interstates remain in poor condition for travel. Troopers will continue to assist motorists who become stranded in this dangerous weather. But your safest bet is to avoid travel altogether. If you don’t travel, you can’t become stranded.”

Villisca man arrested Wed. on theft charge


December 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office says a Villisca man was arrested Wednesday afternoon on a theft charge. 20-year old Cecil McCuen the 3rd was charged with 5th degree theft, for allegedly takig an item from the Casey’s General Store in Villisca. McCuen was released from custody after posting a $300 bond.

Major Iowa highways partially closed due to storm


December 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Several major highways in Iowa have been partially closed due to poor road conditions from a major overnight snow storm.  The state Department of Transportation says on its website that several locations along Interstate 80 remain closed Thursday morning. They include an exit near Council Bluffs by the Nebraska state line, and exits near mile markers in central Iowa.

On Interstate 35, roads are blocked along exits near Williams and Coulter in north Iowa. The agency says many of the closures or blockages are due to numerous road accidents. State officials have warned drivers to stay off the road because of whiteout conditions in some areas.

The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for parts of Iowa through this (Thursday) evening. In the KJAN listening area, the warning expires at noon, unless extended later this morning.

“No Travel” advisory remains in effect for Iowa


December 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa – Dec. 20, 2012: 8:30 a.m. – Due to life-threatening blizzard conditions, the Iowa Department of Transportation’s “No Travel” advisory remains in effect throughout Thursday.

The Iowa DOT’s road and aviation weather system is currently reporting sustained winds of 30 to 40 mph, with gusts over 50 mph in some locations. The very strong winds are likely to continue until midnight with whiteout conditions at times and significant drifting.

The National Weather Services is forecasting 6 to 14 inches of snow by this afternoon, with the higher totals expected along an axis from just east of Atlantic to Des Moines to Waterloo. Snow is currently falling at a rate of 1 to 2 inches per hour.

If you must travel, bring your mobile phone and winter survival supplies. If you become stranded, STAY WITH YOUR VEHICLE and call 911. For the latest road condition report, go to www.511ia.org. or call 511 (in Iowa).

Storm closes schools, businesses in Neb., Iowa


December 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Schools, services and businesses in much of eastern Nebraska and western Iowa have closed as the states hunker down in the wake of the season’s first major snow storm.

Nearly all schools and child care services were closed Thursday in Omaha, Neb., and Des Moines, Iowa, and their surrounding areas. Scores of businesses – from banks to grocery stores – also closed their doors as a blizzard that began Wednesday night dumped nearly a foot of snow in some areas. Even as the snow tapered off early Thursday in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa, high winds and blowing snow have made travel nearly impossible.

The National Weather Service says winds were expected to die down later Thursday. But the snow cover means freezing temperatures will stick around until next week.

8AM Newscast 12-20-2012

News, Podcasts

December 20th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

First blizzard of the season blasts Iowa with snow, wind

News, Weather

December 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Heavy snow’s already on the ground from the first major snowstorm of the season. Several counties in central Iowa report more than a foot of snow while a cluster of counties in northeast Iowa have nearly 11 inches. In Atlantic, we received 7-inches of snow outside the KJAN studios from 3-pm Wednesday through 7-a.m. today (Thursday).

National Weather Service meteorologist Kevin Skow says the blizzard is beginning to ease.  “At this point, the storm is starting to pull slowly away from the state but we still have widespread snow across most of Iowa,” Skow says. “That should slowly taper off during the mid-to-late morning hours from west to east.” If you think you heard thunder last night — you did, and there was lightning, too. That’s “thundersnow,” according to Skow.

“Thundersnow is not terribly uncommon with these very strong systems,” he says. “And you have very strong winds. It’s a very strong system and that’s what led to that thundersnow.” While the snow is starting to lessen in western and central Iowa, Skow says another threat will remain through this afternoon.

“The big story today will be the winds,” he says. “We’re expecting strong winds, 30-40 miles per hour or even 50 to 60 mph wind gusts which will blow that snow around and create hazardous travel conditions.” Snowfall totals show three deep areas in the state — near Council Bluffs, around Des Moines, and between Dubuque and Waterloo. The deepest report is 13-point-1 inches, just north of Des Moines.

(Radio Iowa)

Governor orders state office to close until noon


December 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Officials are closing all state offices until noon because of a powerful storm that has buried much of Iowa in deep snow.  Gov. Terry Branstad announced Thursday morning that state employees and the public should remain home until the worst of the storm passes through the state.   Office will open at noon.

The storm piled up nearly a foot of snow in some parts of Iowa, and high winds are expected to continue throughout the day.

Atlantic P-D warns of icy roads


December 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic Police Chief Steve Green is urging residents of the community NOT to travel this morning in town, as the roads are 100% snow and ice covered. Travel is not advised unless it is an emergency. Many intersections are ice-covered and dangerous. If you must travel, approach the intersections with caution, and drive slowly elsewhere in town.

Blizzard grounds flights in Omaha, Des Moines

News, Weather

December 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Blizzard conditions have forced the cancellation of most flights at airports in parts of Iowa and eastern Nebraska, including Des Moines and Omaha. At Eppley Airfield in Omaha, 23 flights were cancelled Wednesday night and most early-morning flights were cancelled Thursday.  At the Des Moines airport, most flights early Thursday were grounded.

In Cedar Rapids, American and Delta airlines halted flights at the Eastern Iowa Airport until mid-afternoon.